About this Blog

After banging my head in frustration over the obsession everyone around me had with procreation, I went online to find a community of people who were more like me. I have met some fascinating people along the way, but I have also found that many in the childfree community are quite hostile toward Christianity and a Christian world view. I understand that, unfortunately, many of my Christian sisters and brothers have given them a lot of ammunition (undoubtedly, I have been guilty of this at times too). Not wanting to be perceived as "trolling" for expressing my Christian perspective on other people's forums and blogs, I use my own blog to share my musings on childfree life while at the same time expressing my faith.

My intention is to show support to childfree people, both Christian and non-Christian, but from my own Christian perspective. Questions and constructive comments are welcome; negativity and intolerance are not.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Childfree Stereotypes: Our Relationship with Pets, Part II

Regarding pets as a manifestation of our secret desire for children…
(a) The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that nearly 60% of households own a pet (the Humane Society of the U.S. breaks some of this down with 39% of households owning at least one dog and 33% of households owning at least one cat; obviously some of these households will overlap). I know from personal experience that many of these households include children too. What I am getting at is that pet ownership is sort of the “normal” American way of life. The childfree likely adopt pets for many of the same reasons that people who have (or want to have) children do.
(b) Don’t be silly. Animals are way better than children!

In 2009, a childfree couple was on the Tyra Banks show, and when the subject of pets came up, Tyra responded with something to the effect of, “Of course your dogs would have human names.” Uh…wha…? I work at an animal shelter. About half of the pets there have human names. It’s what people sometimes do, regardless of whether or not they have children. Most of my mom’s cats have human names; my friends with children all have pets with human names. My pets, on the other hand, do not have human names. I chose names that fit their coloring, shape, or personality; if a human name accomplished that, I would use it.

Some years ago, as well-meaning friend said something about my cats being my children, and at the time, it was kind of an “aha” moment for me that, yes, my cats were more valuable to me than I was willing to admit (I had been raised with this idea that they “were just animals” and not worth spending money on, even sometimes to the exclusion of necessary veterinary care). While my friend’s comments did free me of some of the hang-ups I had about how to appropriately care for a pet, I have since realized that my relationship with my cats could not be further from a mother-child relationship. Well, my boy cat acts like a mama’s boy, so I suppose we have somewhat of a mother-child bond, but my other cats are more like roommates.

Even so, I haven’t the slightest desire to have a parent-child relationship with my animals. I love taking care of them, and I also love the amount of self-sufficiency they have. I love them precisely because they are animals and not people. My whole life I have been an animal lover, and having pets is just one way that I express that. And if I did want/have children, animals would still be a major part of my life.

Ultimately, for me and for many of the childfree with whom I have discussed this in the virtual world, pets are not a replacement for the children who are “missing” in our lives. We have animals because we love animals. End of story.


  1. Yes, I would also have pets in any situation just because I'm an animal lover. Though I do call my animals my babies or children and in some ways (not all) treat them as suh but that has more to do with my beliefs on how we should care for them as part of the family. It also may partly be a holdover from my childhood when my cousin and I would dress my cat in baby doll clothes and push him around in a stroller! That poor cat! He was such a good sport! lol

  2. I love, love, love animals and feel an immense desire to care for and nurture them. Baby animals in particular. But when I see a human baby? I feel nothing, or if I do, it's something like revulsion or pity. My pets definitely do NOT replace any kind of desire for human children! :)

    I agree with the above commenter -- I may call my pets my children, but that has to do more with treating them as members of the family and caring for them as such than anything else. If I've made a commitment to care for an animal, I need to stick to it, no matter what comes.

  3. Thanks for the comments! I do sometimes refer to my cats as my babies or children, but it sounds like we all do it as a term of endearment rather than out of a desire for a human baby.

    When I run into other kitten-foster-parents at the shelter, the question we always ask each other is, "Do you have any babies right now / how are your babies?" Some of these folks have had children, and others have not, but it's funny that we all find it perfectly appropriate to call our foster kittens "babies."

  4. I have also always been an animal lover since my childhood. I still keep on loving animals, and I tend to talk to them, sing to them, I once managed to calm down a carp fish my husband catched once on his net. Once I talked sweetly to the fish, the fish seemed to calm down as well. It was a very special moment for me. :-)(my husband then nick named me as the "fish whisperer" haha) My husband only do catch and release, so the carp was only taken up and put carefully on the weight, then some pictures would be taken, and the carp would be returned carefully down into the water again.

    Our dog was never meant as an replacement of an desire for having children. We got a dog because we wanted to have a dog. Our dog is a part of our family, I don't see anything bad with thinking this way.

    I think it is more fun trying to find a creative name that fits the animal. I often think giving human names to animals can get comical, yet it can work out fine, too. Here where we live there is a girl having a chihuahua which she has named her dog Giant. ;-) Can get funny with such creative input too.